The Urban Teachers Teacher Practice Rubric (TPR) is the organizing framework that connects the development of teaching practice knowledge (through coursework) to the development of teaching practice competence (through coaching).
The TPR was developed after a thorough and lengthy review of national and district-based teaching practice frameworks, including the Danielson Framework, the CLASS, and the Teaching as Leadership (TAL) framework. Unlike other frameworks, the TPR is distinct in two key ways:
- THE TPR IS TEACHER-CENTRIC. The first three years of the Urban Teachers program are focused explicitly on helping participants acquire the teaching practices of five key behaviors.
- THE TPR IS CONTENT AGNOSTIC. The five key effective behaviors are common across all content areas and grade levels. However, the demonstration of these behaviors will vary given the content, grade, or developmental level of each participant’s classroom.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TEACHER PRACTICE RUBRIC
From years of experience and thorough research, we know that effective urban teachers – teachers who provide quality instruction that empowers and enables students to reach higher levels of achievement year after year – enact five key behaviors:
- BUILDING A PRODUCTIVE & NURTURING CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT
- BEING A DIAGNOSTICIAN
- SETTING PRECISE GOALS & ENACTING THEM
- FOSTERING ACADEMIC DISCOURSE
- DEMONSTRATING GROWTH MINDSET & PROFESSIONALISM
We refer to each of these key behaviors as a strand. Together they weave a strong, durable, yet flexible teacher.
TPR STRAND A: EFFECTIVE TEACHERS BUILD PRODUCTIVE AND NURTURING CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENTS. Urban Teachers educators understand that a healthy classroom culture depends on their initiative and direction. They create inclusive classrooms where students are valued, respected, supported, and nurtured as they develop into readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers. These teachers confidently assume the role of teacher and set clear expectations for all students. Urban Teachers educators build deliberate structures – from teaching lessons on how students must talk and work with one another as a community of learners to enacting a classroom management system that is shared, transparent, and fair.
TPR STRAND B: EFFECTIVE TEACHERS ARE DIAGNOSTICIANS. Our teachers know their students. They gather data from a wide variety of sources to develop a clear sense of their students’ needs, interests, and background knowledge. In addition, Urban Teachers educators have a versatile toolkit of assessments that they use wisely and regularly to gather student data. They do not lock this data in a vault. Instead, they analyze and share data with colleagues, students’ families, and most importantly, with students.
TPR STRAND C: EFFECTIVE TEACHERS SET PRECISE GOALS AND ENACT THEM. Our teachers teach to high standards. They make informed and thoughtful decisions about what they are teaching. In addition to informative data, standards, and curriculum resources, Urban Teachers educators use what they know about effective teaching and learning and their students’ interests to plan instruction that leads students to deeper levels of understanding and achievement. They know that the test of good instruction is not just what they do, but what their teaching and guidance leads students to accomplish. The work is rich, rigorous, and engaging.
TPR STRAND D: EFFECTIVE TEACHERS FOSTER ACADEMIC TALK. Our teachers believe that student conversations are essential. It is an opportunity for students to voice what they are thinking, as well as to learn from what others have to say, and for teachers to gain insight into their students’ thought processes. In classrooms where students are learning and growing one hears a buzz. That buzz, or talk, facilitates and enriches learning – it is purposeful, on-task, accountable talk that pushes students to voice their thoughts and questions as they move to deeper levels of understanding.
TPR STRAND E: EFFECTIVE TEACHERS HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET AND EXHIBIT PROFESSIONALISM. Urban Teachers educators set goals for improving their practice, avidly seek constructive and actionable feedback, and they engage with others in professional discourse. They research, investigate, and read beyond what is required and expected. They own their work and understand that their efforts are the key to raising student achievement. They exhibit a high degree of professionalism at all times when engaging with students and their families, colleagues, and other members of their school community.
The 2020-21 Teacher Practice Rubric can be accessed here.